We No Longer Make Copiers

How Xerox moved beyond copiers and brings high tech solutions to unexpected places.

Curated by Gregory Pings, manager of Content Marketing for Xerox

Sophie Vandebroek
Chief technology officer Sophie Vandebroek: “You can’t be creative and entrepreneurial unless you truly bring your heart to work.”

Here’s a story Xerox chief technology officer Sophie Vandebroek shared with Fast CompanyWhile at an MIT career fair a few years ago, she wondered why Google and IBM had long lines at their booths, while the Xerox booth had hardly a trickle. So she asked one of the students. The reply: “You just make copiers.”

“They had no clue about [our] other businesses,” Sophie recalled in the Fast Company article. So the next year, a sign on the Xerox booth announced: “We no longer make copiers.” (It’s literally true. Our copiers are now multi-function with the ability to fax, scan and print.) The trickle from the previous year turned into a long line as students asked what it is that we do.

Sound familiar?

A bit more than half of our business comes from services such as running electronic tolling solutions on bridges and highways, processing the insurance claim for your annual check-up, or helping teachers understand their students’ strengths and weaknesses. By 2017, we expect that these (and many other) types of services will account for about three-quarters of our revenue.

These new businesses are fueled by unstructured, blue-sky rap sessions that get people think more creatively about problems and solutions. Sophie calls them “Dreaming Sessions.”

If you simply ask a teacher what Xerox can do to make her job easier, the reply is likely to be: “Make your copiers go faster.” But if you have a real conversation and actively listen to the answers, you discover that what teachers really need is a better way to grade papers and quickly figure out how to adjust lesson plans for individual students.  This is an example of actual dreaming sessions that our researchers conducted with teachers. They resulted in  Xerox multifunction printers that automatically extract data from a test, and gives teachers insight into what their students need to learn their lessons better. (The solution is called Ignite.)

“Being innovative to me is being both creative and entrepreneurial,” Sophie told Fast Company. “And you can’t be creative and entrepreneurial unless you truly bring your heart to work, and have fun at work. Having fun is really essential. You need to have fun every day.”

That’s Sophie’s take on how Xerox moved well beyond copiers. Read “How Xerox Evolved from Copier Company to Creative Powerhouse” in Fast Company.

(Updated Jan. 2, 2014: This video shows other ways that our services, technology, and expertise simplify the way business works so the world works a little better.)

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8 Comments

  1. Linda Weight December 19, 2013 - Reply

    Sigh. There are a lot of things Xerox no longer does. I have been purchasing copiers for my employer since the mid 1990’s. Xerox copiers used to be almost trouble-free. Not any more. We used to be able to purchase the units directly from Xerox instead of 3rd party vendors that only care about making the sale, not supporting the item. We used to be able to purchase supplies, including paper and toner directly from Xerox, instead of 3rd party vendors that price gouge. We used to be able to reach customer care representatives at Xerox who actually cared and would actually take care of issues. When our lease on the current unit runs out I will be looking at other manufacturors. Such a shame.

    • kenericson December 19, 2013 - Reply

      Hello Linda, we appreciate your concerns. A member of our team will be reaching out to you directly.

  2. mike d December 26, 2013 - Reply

    good thing since nobody makes copies anymore. just originals. and fewer and fewer of those. so call it what you wish, but xerox is an obsolete wannabe.

  3. Nicola December 26, 2013 - Reply

    I worked for Xerox from 1997 to 2001 selling multifunction devices. Why has it taken the company 17 years to come to the conclusion it “no longer makes copiers” I can think of many things you should tell the market you are but it’s not that. Xerox is a fantastic company who have survived and evolved. I work in the IT Services industry and I am impressed with what you offer but your marketing needs a new direction.

  4. Greg Walters December 28, 2013 - Reply

    LOL! The article is a bit outdated; the headline ‘click bait’ – it got me.
    Xerox stopped R/D on photocopiers back in 2008…and recently sold off a portion of their Engineering and Research for solid ink.

    But even more intriguing are some of the comments. Purchasing Agent looking for leverage on pricing? “nobody makes copies anymore…just originals…” spot on. 97-01, the talk-track was ‘solutions’ but the factories still kicked out machines by the 1,000’s.

    good form…

  5. mike. d January 1, 2014 - Reply

    Xerox. Such a sad story of inept American business management, now floating about without an identity. Still talking about how many years its been since ‘xerography’ was invented. Yet claining they don’t make their namesake products anymore. And without a crisp way to describe what the hell they actually do make or provide. Another Unisys perhaps?

  6. Matthew Arnold September 19, 2016 - Reply

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  7. Document XL November 8, 2016 - Reply

    I have just got a new Xerox copier that also acts an office printer, everyone in the Leeds office loves it!

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